Dr. Lawrence Roberts
Light Reading: What else can you tell us about your product?
Larry Roberts: Reliability is another thing we are working on. Service providers need equipment with carrier-grade reliability. Equipment that can stand up to upgrades -- so that they can perform software upgrades and fix failed boards and offer uninterrupted service for five or ten years, or until they see a return on their investment.
And right now they don’t have that. The feedback that we’ve gotten from all the service providers is that products should have hitless software upgrades and hitless cutovers for BGP [border gateway protocol] when a failure occurs. And it’s the hardest thing to do – especially for BGP. None of today’s router vendors have succeeded in doing it.
What does that mean? It means that in any network today carriers have to have complete duplication of the [routing] hardware. They have two have two duplicate pieces of equipment sitting next to each other [for redundancy]. They’re both live; they’re both working, but at half their capacity.
And that’s not the only problem. The lines are working below capacity because of QOS inefficiencies. If you look at networks today, some of them are running at 15 percent to 30 percent utilization.
And they don’t have any way to manage load balancing on the network, so they have to do that manually. They’re having to scale [the number of engineers they hire] linearly with the traffic. This is a major cost for them.
So to sum up, the first network cost is to light the fiber. Then the cost of the switching equipment. And then the operational costs -- of the people that run it. And right now these guys are sitting there with data accounting for 80 percent of their traffic, but only 20 percent of revenue. And data will be 90 percent of their traffic next year, so they better make IP profitable within a year or they are going to go under.
Light Reading: And Caspian will help them do that?
Roberts: Yes. Only a slight change in the cost of the switch can bring them to profitability. And then the IP SLAs [service level agreements] can make them very profitable.